Happy 20th, Cracked Rear View

Cracked Rear View Cover

July 5th marked the 20th anniversary of one of the best selling albums of all-time, Cracked Rear View, by South Carolina’s own Hootie and the Blowfish.  Yes, you are getting old.  I didn’t realize it, either.  Not the getting old part.  I’m well aware of that.  The 20-year anniversary part.

I would have guessed 1995 on a trivia contest, but turns out it was 1994.  The State newspaper did a big write up on it recently.  You can read that here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/06/28/3537405/20-years-later-cracked-rear-view.html?sp=/99/117/

We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives
Takes us to another place and time
– “I Go Back”, Kenny Chesney

If you’re like me, certain songs remind me of people or events.  For instance, there is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.  I cannot hear it without thinking of my old friend and childhood next door neighbor, Tim.  I really don’t remember why.

There’s also the glass break at the beginning of “You May be Right” by Billy Joel from his Glass Houses album.  Reminds me of Libby, my friend Edwin’s older sister.  She had the album.  Not sure if she or the album cover really made the impression.

Then there is “Let’s Go” by The Cars.  Every time I hear it, I think of Brantley Smith.  Brantley was a friend from youth group at church.  At one group gathering, Brantley and his band played for us.  We must have been rebel Southern Baptists, playing that evil rock ‘n roll.

Brantley was the drummer. I don’t even think I knew he was in a band, much less played drums.  Maybe that’s what impressed me so much.  Their cover of “Let’s Go” was spot on and Brantley nailed the drum riffs.  Ever since, and I kid you not, I cannot hear that song and not think of that night in the church gym. On a side note, I can finally play those drums riffs on my steering wheel almost as well as he did that night.

A few years after that, I wound up in Columbia, SC working a summer internship.  I ran into Brantley and told him I was spending the summer in Columbia.  He was a student at the University of South Carolina.  The conversation went something like this:

“You should come by and see our band sometime. ”

“OK, whats the band?”

“Hootie and the Blowfish.”

“Alright.  I’ll try.”

Good luck with that name, I thought to myself.  Unfortunately, I never made it out to see them that summer, something I still regret.

If you know the members’ names in Hootie, you already know there’s no Brantley in that list.  Turns out the rock band life wasn’t for Brantley, and he left the band on good terms in 1989.

Fast forward a few years to 1996.  On the eve of the release of Hootie’s second album, Fairweather Johnson, MTV came to the campus of the University of South Carolina to record the band for their popular Unplugged series. The band showed real class and invited Brantley to play with them.  Only this time, he was on the cello.  Turns out he’s pretty good on the cello, too.  You can see him in this clip of “Hold My Hand” from the performance.  He’s the only cello player in the strings lineup.    Great shots at the beginning:

So, there you go.  My brush with early Hootie and the Blowfish.  Happy Anniversary, Cracked Rear View.

If you have a favorite Hootie memory or a song that reminds you of something, let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.  Also, here are some other links you may like related to this story:

Article on a notebook current Hootie drummer, Jim Sonefeld, kept during the recording: http://www.thestate.com/2014/06/29/3537402/a-notebooks-reveals-an-intimate.html

Recording Industry Association of America’s Top 100 certified albums: http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=top-100-albums

Brookwood Church: http://www.brookwoodchurch.org/default.aspx.  Brantley is the worship pastor here now.


2 thoughts on “Happy 20th, Cracked Rear View

  1. Yep, BOC was one of my “big three” back in the early 80’s, along with Rush and Cheap Trick. Hey, thanks for making me famous bro! 😉

    And I completely agree with you about music becoming inextricably tied to people, places and events. For instance, and there’s no good reason why, I’ve always been reminded of you over the years whenever I’ve heard Boz Scaggs songs off his Hits! album. Weird what gets set in the brain.

    Great Hootie story. Awesome brush with greatness.

  2. Very enjoyable & well-written reflection, Greg. Thanks for sharing. So funny that you remember Libby that way. I can’t say I remember the episode(s) it may have come from, but I certainly can *imagine* us asking to borrow her record, then standing over the turntable & playing that cool, glass-shattering opening over and over again! Neat to hear that story about Brantley for the first time & interesting to learn that he ended up with a vocation in the Church, like me. Again, thanks!

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